The wildfire that devastated Fort McMurray was named the costliest insured natural disaster in Canadian history. In total, the event generated $3.58 billion in losses, according to the Insurance Bureau of Canada. The total losses are more than double those associated with Canada’s second costliest disaster, the 2013 southern Alberta flood, which cost $1.7 billion in insurance claims.
The wildfire, which was finally brought under control on July 5, 2016, was Canada’s largest-ever evacuation. The fire impacted 1.4 million acres of area, destroying 2,400 homes and other buildings. In total, more than 27,000 personal property insurance claims averaging $81,000 each were filed.
While experts can’t point to a singular cause of the fire, some say it was the result of unusually high temperatures and a dry winter. And, with weather changes causing continuous problems, it is likely that more fires similar to the one that ravaged Fort McMurray could be imminent.
To protect themselves, businesses are encouraged to seek the appropriate insurance coverage to defend against substantial losses. Additionally, a business continuity plan can help ensure that, even after extensive damage has occurred, a business can successfully operate following a disaster—natural or otherwise.
Such plans should analyze potential threats, identify key stakeholders, provide emergency contact information, create a recovery team, backup important data, establish a communication strategy and list potential alternative operations sites.
So while wildfires and other disasters are often unpredictable, keeping in mind the above advice can help you prepare for the worst.
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